1900 De Dion-Bouton Type E Vis-a-Vis

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Model E Vis-a-Vis voiturette with a 2.8 kW, 402 cc single-cylinder engine (80mm x 80mm) located under the seat and driven through the rear wheels by a two-speed gearbox. In this model the expanding clutches of the gearbox were operated by a lever on the steering column.  In 1988 the vehicle was date-certified by the Dating Committee of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain as car number 207 with engine number 2181 (3 1/2 HP), and as manufactured in 1900. It also noted that the vehicle had been fitted with non-standard well-based rims and a non-standard carburettor.

De Dion-Bouton was a French automobile and railcar manufacturer operating from 1883 to 1932. The company was founded by the Marquis Jules-Albert de Dion, Georges Bouton, and Bouton's brother-in-law Charles Trépardoux. They became the De Dion-Bouton Automobile Company and became well known for their quality, reliability and durability. In 1900, De Dion Bouton was the largest vehicle manufacturer in the world, producing 400 cars and 3,200 engines that year.Despite early experiments with boilers and steam engines for boats, cars and tricycles, by 1889 De Dion was pursuing the development of internal combustion engines. In 1900 the company produced their first vis-a-vis voiturette (literally the 'face-to-face small car'). This unusual design had the passenger facing the driver, who sat in the rear seat.While the original owner of this specific vehicle is unknown, millionaire American car enthusist Mr H. Schick purchased it in 1953 from Marcel Ruton, an automobile dealer in Sevres, Paris, where it had been stored on the roof. He later took it to the USA and restored the vehicle. In late 1965 Mr Schick and the late Mr George Gilltrap of the Gold Coast Auto Museum arranged for an exchange of the De Dion Bouton for a vintage Rolls Royce, the former arriving in Australia in 1966. Further restorations were undertaken and it was used in a number of rallies, proving surprisingly reliable. In 1989 it was sold at auction due to the closure of the Gold Coast Auto Museum and was purchased by Mr Julian Sterling (Victoria). Again, restorations were undertaken with some modifications made reflecting some traits of the Model G. It was donated to the National Motor Museum through the Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program in 2001, arriving in March 2002.
This De Dion is an example of the first volume motor car imports to arrive in Australia. It is one of the oldest cars in Australia, the second oldest production car in the collection and comes with a good provenance. The vehicle is also in good operating condition and is part of the Museum's 'driven collection'.
National Motor Museum Collection

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